We’re Sicko choice

Too cowardly to attack doctors in person, Ben Bradshaw has attacked them in print – suggesting that they are putting their own interests before those of their patients by resisting the government’s plans for the English NHS.

Now, this is rich coming as it does from a New Labour minister seeking to get more for-profit corporations involved in the health service…

I don’t suppose the Sicko healthcare companies that blight the Amercian people take an oath, but if they do it’s to their shareholders, not their patients. Their behaviour won’t change

From The Morning Star‘s editorial:

Who asked for choice?
(Thursday 03 July 2008)

IF Health Minister Ben Bradshaw believes that there is political capital to be made by taking on our NHS doctors, he will quickly come unstuck.

People respect their local GPs in a way that new Labour drones such as Mr Bradshaw can only dream of.

When Labour took office in 1997, then health secretary Frank Dobson set about dismantling the internal market that the Tories had set up within the NHS as a means of assisting its privatisation.

Over a decade later, this excuse for a Labour government has adopted the Tory “choice” agenda, with Mr Bradshaw demanding that GPs should compete for patients.

And he has the temerity to invoke the authority of patients, as though there is public acceptance of this capitalist shibboleth of competition.

GPs and people who depend on the NHS for health care know that competition generates winners and losers, which would result in the closure or takeover of supposedly “failing” GP surgeries.

This is precisely the model adopted by the government to foster competition and “raise standards” in state education and it is equally inapplicable.

Whenever people are asked what they want of the NHS, competition and marketisation are never mentioned.

The preference voiced is for local, well-resourced facilities.

But public consultation counts for nothing if it throws up the wrong answer.

This is why the government presses on with its hobby horses, based on Tory dogma that it has picked up along the way and shamelessly passed off as the kind of policies that Nye Bevan would be espousing today.

Only if he had had a mental breakdown that had caused him to kick all his previous principles out of the window and to sign up to private health care.

Mr Bradshaw is singing from the same song sheet as his unelected fellow minister Lord Darzi, who is also obsessed with giving patients greater GP choice that they have never asked for.

Setting up new GP facilities where there is no current paucity is nothing less than an attempt to undermine the existing primary care system.

The government is committed to opening up general practice to US private companies so that private care can achieve the kind of success that it has done across the Atlantic, where 50 million US citizens have no entitlement to health care.

That cannot be acceptable to people working in the NHS, their trade unions or to the vast majority of the people.

Pay fallacy
LABOUR MPs should have told Gordon Brown to stick his meaningless gesture of refusing to accept the pay rise recommended by their pay review board.

But they should also have told him what he could do with his bullying dismissal of the pay board recommendations for other public-service workers.

Health workers, police, prison officers and other public servants are certainly less able to sustain a decline in disposable income than many MPs, especially ministers.

The government gesture is based on the fallacy that inflation is rampant because of excessive pay claims by people such as Tube cleaners rather than by banks and energy company profiteers.

The theory and the gesture are equally worthless.